On today’s episode, I’m chatting with reverse listener Emily about some good practices to consider when going from employed to self-employed, especially in the field of nutrition consulting.

We’re back with our 160th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 160 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And today is another fantastic reverse interview. Today we are joined by Emily. She is a wife and mother, and has been working in the financial industry for almost 10 years. She enjoys running and all things health and wellness. Welcome to the show, Emily!

Emily: Thank you! Thank you for having me.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, girl! Thank you for coming on. I’m excited to chat today. And I get this impression; it’s like I’m talking to Snow White, because of the birds chirping in the background {laughs}.

Emily: Yes, for all the listeners, I’m hiding from my toddler. And the porch seemed like a better avenue than my laundry room.

Cassy Joy: I love it. It’s perfect. Get you some fresh air and some birds chirping. That’s so cute. Well, welcome to the show, I’m really excited to jump into our discussion today. But do you want to kick us off with either a little background or a couple of questions?

Emily: Absolutely. So I’m excited to be on here today. Basically, I guess what brought me here was I have reached out to you. I’ve been, like you said, in the finance industry for almost a decade. I work for a really great company. But my passions have always lied in health and fitness and nutrition. And so I feel like I’m kind of at this point in my life that I would be interested in changing careers. But the hurdle to pass is, I guess, the transition phase of I have a family. I have a house. And there’s also financial responsibilities that I can’t just avoid.

How do you think a transition could be smooth in swapping careers? And entering the nutrition world?

Cassy Joy: This is such a great question. And it’s one that I find myself talking about often with some of my friends that I consider peers and colleagues in this industry. Because it seems like such a mystery. Having gone through it myself.

So to give a little background information on my experience swapping careers and jumping into nutrition. It’s not; and you would want to be self-employed in that, right Emily?

Emily: Yes.

Cassy Joy: So, when you go from, let’s say for example, folks listening. You’re employed by another company. And when y think; oh, I’ll switch careers. It’s not like just getting another job. And giving your two weeks’ notice and starting; oh. That’s my alarm for our recording.

Emily: Well that’s funny. My phone just vibrated reminding me, and I was like; I hope they didn’t hear that. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: No, they didn’t hear yours but they definitely heard mine. {laughing}

Emily: Good times.

Cassy Joy: Good times. We are just so professional over here. I’m going to leave that in. Real life.

So when you switch to becoming self-employed, there’s this considerable hurdle to overcome. Which is; how do I build up enough income for my company to where it can replace the income that I had previously? So because of that, the two jobs have to overlap for a pretty significant amount of time.

Well, there’s a couple of different ways you can do this. You can either; remind me. Do you have any sort of training that you’re wanting to pursue?

Emily: Yes. I currently have a bachelor’s degree in business. So I guess probably my two-part question was going to be the education aspect, and the training aspect. The certifications. Or pursing masters in nutrition. Just that part, too.

Cassy Joy: Got it. So I will definitely get to that. That’s a really great question. But I would say that as far as switching careers, you almost have to do a bunch of these things at once. And it’s going to feel like you’re working two jobs, because you are. For a little period of time. If you don’t want a gap in salary.

There are some times; if you can take everything down and leave. I’m speaking also to former me. {laughs} When I was in these shoes. I fanaticized, when I was doing the blog full time and working full time in a different career field. I was like; what if I just quit and I just. This is going to sound really dramatic. But what if I just go a little hungry for a little bit. Not literally. But what if that would just be the push and I could make it happen a little bit faster. And that wasn’t the answer for me.

And the advice that I got was keep your old job for as long as you can. Because what that does is it allows you to build your new business without putting a whole lot of pressure on it to monetize more quickly, maybe. And therefore you’re able to build a business that’s set up in a way that you’re really proud of and you’re not depending on financially yet. If that makes any sense. Because when you’re really needing something to work financially, we tend to make slightly different decisions than we would if we could just build it, almost treating it like it’s a hobby. Or gosh, I don’t know. Something that we’re just doing for fun.

So that’s really, from a big picture overview, that’s my advice. To keep the old as long as possible. Before you start the new one. Or keep the old as long as possible while you’re working on building your new career. Especially while you’re wanting to be self-employed in the field of nutrition. You build your contacts. You build your website. You put yourself out there as a content creator. And maybe you’re not publishing things as often as you would when you’re going full time. But you’re still building good content online. You’re climbing up there in the Google ranks. You’re putting yourself out there as some one who has a lot of knowledge and information.

And the best time; I love that you haven’t gone through a training program, yet, Emily. Because the best time to start blogging about nutrition is while you’re going through school. I really believe that. There’s no reason why you have to graduate and then; ok. Now I have permission to start my website.

I pursued a nutrition certification through Bauman College. They’re located out of California. And I did the distance learning program at home. And there’s several different options out there for working with folks. I chose that one because I felt like it did a really good job of diving into a lot of molecular biology, or microbiology. It did a really good job of also giving a good overview, non-biased approach to different nutrition approaches. Because I came into that program with a paleo-type bias. But I really wanted to learn why people would promote eating certain other foods. Grains, wheat, beans, so on and so forth. I really wanted a well-rounded knowledge base. So I pursued that program because of those reasons.

And if anybody listening is curious to learn more about Bauman, I actually interviewed Dr. Ed Bauman on the podcast a little while back. So go ahead and look that up. He talks about the program and maybe what sets it apart and who would be great as a nutrition consultant. So that’s what I did.

What I found is while I was going through this school, Emily, I was bursting with ideas of things I wanted to blog about. Because what I encourage people to do; when you’re starting a business as yourself. Today’s day and age, if you’re wanting to be self-employed as a nutritionist. You have to set up a way for people to find you. And you can either do that a really old-fashioned way. Meaning you go and you network with physicians. And you say, let me team with you on helping your clients to build a nutrition protocol that matches. I’ll collaborate with you, and well work together. We’ll build a plan. And maybe that’s how you find your client base, is through referrals. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s a really great thing to do.

But if you also want to capture clientele from the world wide web, all over the place, then the way to do that is by having a presence online. And that doesn’t mean you have to have 100,000 people visiting your website. You need to have a home online that portrays you and your best ideas. So we’re now in the day and age where we have to give away our best ideas as content creators online for people to really trust you. Because if they’re going to say yes. Emily, I want you to help me through overcoming this autoimmune issue that I’ve got right now. And I really want to work together; where do I sign?

What’s going to get somebody to that point is they’ve probably read 10 of your blog posts, and they think; “Yep. That’s exactly what I want. She sounds like a smarty pants. It sounds like she knows where I’m headed, and how to get there. And I really want to work with her.”

So I say start as soon as possible. Do you have website yet, Emily?

Emily: I actually started a blog a month ago.

Cassy Joy: Wohoo!

Emily: Yay!

Cassy Joy: That’s so exciting.

Emily: I know. Can I share; is it ok if I share the name.

Cassy Joy: Please! I was going to ask you, yes. Go for it.

Emily: It’s called Praise, PRs, and Primal.

Cassy Joy: Praise, PRs, and Primal. That is so adorable. I love the alliteration. I love it. That is so, so cute. I think that’s a great place to start. Have you started blogging yet? Writing anything?

Emily: Yes. I have a whopping four posts.

Cassy Joy: Ooh, girl. That’s good.

Emily: But I’m still, I guess, creating content and deciding what all I want to share on there. Working on a recipe section. I have a lot of personal people I know that ask me a lot about recipes and meal prepping and stuff. So that’s what I kind of decided; I’m just going to start a blog. And they can just post it on there. They can find it.

Cassy Joy: I love it. That is so cute. I think that’s great. So when setting up a content calendar, I think that, especially if you’re wanting to put yourself out there as nutrition scientist and working with folks. I think it’s important to publish some scientific type articles. Like demystifying methylation. Something like that. Things you will learn as you go through nutrition school.

So you can take some of your homework going through school, and put those into a blog post. And I encourage you to blog about the things that you would be Googling. You personally would search for. And that includes recipes, right?

If you would sit down. Or your friends. Like you were saying, your immediate circle. If they are telling you; yes. I need to find 10 ways to use shredded chicken. {laughs} Whatever it is. That idea just came to mind because we’re working on a meal prep series, too. But if they’re like; I need to find 10 ways to use meal prep chicken. That would be a great blog article. Things like that that you would be searching for. And then set yourself up on a schedule.

It sounds like you’re already there. You’ve got four posts up; you started a month ago. So I would write one post a week if that’s a good schedule for you. Especially while you’re still working another position. Everybody else listening; if you’re still working, it doesn’t mean that you can’t blog until you move onto the next stage of your career. It means just go a little bit slower now, and when you can, and you’ve transitioned over to your own business, you can run a little bit faster. So set yourself up on a schedule, and try to be really consistent. Every single Monday you publish a new post.

And maybe when you really feel like you’ve gotten your feet under you, on Monday you publish something that is maybe a sort of geeky, nutrition science article, and on Thursdays you share a recipe. So kind of get into some of those themes. Definitely start building an email list. Are you familiar with email lists?

Emily: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Ok, awesome. Of course, you have a business degree. For anybody who is unfamiliar and kind of scratching their head a little bit. The reason why it’s so important to build an email list right now is because when it comes to getting the word out there of our content, you’re going to feel a little bit like you’re shouting into the abyss. Because until Google really recognizes you, and you show up higher in search results. Maybe you’re going to tell folks about it on social media. And maybe you’ll use hashtags with the hopes that people find you.

But at the end of the day, it’s difficult to build. Not difficult. It takes a while to really build a community online that you can direct back to your website. Back to the content that you’re creating. And then ultimately back to the services that you’re going to start offering. Because once you are through school, and you’re able to take on clients. At the end of your blog posts, I would put a, “If you would like to work with me one-on-one, email me here.” Or click on this webpage and it will tell you more about my services. Until you have that ready, you want to start building a list of folks who are interested that are kind of your tribe.

So a way to do that is; though it’s nice to build that community in social media. Social media, the rules of the game changes all the time. And I was chatting with a friend the other day. We talk often about the heyday of Facebook. And this was a good 8 years ago, maybe. 7 to 8 years ago. When folks had built really big pages on Facebook because the algorithm was essentially wide and open. And you could reach lots of people. And the people who said yes, I want to follow your page. They saw all of your information.

Now, we’re at the point where that algorithm has changed, and only a small portion of the people who follow you on Facebook actually see what you post. So I’m just using this as an example, because Facebook changed the rules. And folks who had built really big businesses with Facebook alone, all of a sudden lost a lot of their market. And their businesses took a hit, because they didn’t have another way to reach folks.

So what I highly encourage you do is from the get go; number one, work on your… You’ve already started your blog. So you’re ahead of the game. But really work on building that content. So that you have some good depth to show folks when you do start to build your own business. And then number two, work on building your email list, because your email list is the only way to reach people that you can actually control.

Emily: OK.

Cassy Joy: If that makes sense. Because the Facebook algorithm; we might have a barking schnauzer coming up. They’re getting a little revved up.

Emily: {laughs} That’s ok. That’s another reason I’m outside. My big boy hears me say “Hi!” He thinks someone is here and he would have gotten a little worked up.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, I totally get it. These guys are so cute. They’re getting baths today, and Gus is in the car right now. We have a mobile groomer.

Emily: Oh, Gus is so precious.

Cassy Joy: Well, he’s about to get a bunch of cookies when he comes out of there. Because he hates getting groomed, but he loves being groomed, if that makes any sense.

Emily: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Ok. So those are a couple of things to do. Work on building your email list right away. Mailchimp is a really great option. It’s free, up until a certain number of subscribers. So I think that’s a good way to go. It’s very professional; easy to use, back end system. And start collecting emails. And that’s where you would put all of your friends. And I’m not saying don’t also build a platform on social media. But I wouldn’t stress about it. If that makes sense. Because it’s worth so much more to have somebody’s email address so that you can actually put something in their inbox. And not worry about if an algorithm changed and you can’t reach them anymore.

So I would definitely put a sign-up page on your website if you haven’t already for folks to sign up for your newsletter. And that’s what you can call it; your newsletter. And you can send that out once a week, or once a month. Whatever makes sense for your schedule right now. And then include a sign up for it on social media. I’m kind of rambling, but those are kind of the…

Emily: No, it’s great.

Cassy Joy: Ok, good. Those are the little out of the box, how to get started kind of ideas. Now moving onto school. If you do want to work one on one with people as a nutrition coach of some sort, I do think it’s important to have a certification.

Emily: Yes.

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Cassy Joy: Now that being said, if you don’t want to coach people one on one. If you’re listening and you’re like; no, I don’t want to do that. But I do want to build a business online. Then you don’t have to have the nutrition certification. If you just want to talk about… you can still write about scientific research and other articles and things like that and share recipes without needing to be a nutritionist. So don’t think you have to do that.

Now, if you want to work with folks one on one, there’s a couple of programs I recommend. I’m a big fan of the nutritional therapy practitioner program. Becoming an NTP. That’s through the NTA, Nutritional Therapy Association, I believe. So I would look into that. You could become an NTC, as well. Nutritional therapy consultant. I, of course, went through the NC, nutrition consultant program, through Bauman college. Both of those are wonderful.

I think that the NTA program does a better job of networking their graduates afterwards. They put on a really wonderful conference every year that just kind of helps with that continued education. And that’s a great program if you’re coming in and you already have a bias towards a certain way of eating. They follow a sort of Weston A. Price model. If you’re familiar with that. Which recommends fermented foods. It really aligns very well with a real food based diet. A primal type diet, like you have in your name. So I think that might be worth looking into.

I really don’t think it’s necessary to do much more than that. Those programs, it depends on how quickly you want to go through them. I think I finished mine in about a year. But I really cranked it out. And they can take a little bit a longer if you want to stretch it out. But those are the ones that I would look into first.

I would be blogging while you’re in school. And then as soon as you can, and you get the ok from your grogram. And they’ll walk you through those steps when you can start working with people, then I would start working with folks one on one. You will figure out from there; from working with folks, what your consulting business is going to look like.

Emily: OK. That is wonderful information.

Cassy Joy: Good. I’m glad that’s helpful. Do you have any other questions for me?

Emily: I don’t think so. I think that answered a lot of my lingering questions. Thank you so much.

Cassy Joy: You’re so welcome. One last thought that I have. If you’re really wanting to monetize your business sooner than later, I really recommend looking into affiliate programs that are going to help keep your business afloat. And they can become things that you’re going to be recommending to your clients anyway.

So affiliate programs are things like; you can become an Amazon affiliate if you’re familiar with that. As an Amazon affiliate, what you would do is you log on. You have a dashboard. Let’s say you’re going to link to a certain jar of coconut oil that you really like, and you want your people to use. You can put your own link to that coconut oil on your blog. If you’re talking about coconut oil 101. I really am a huge sucker for 101 blog titles. And Amber, who I work with, had to reign me in the other day. Because we were brainstorming more articles. And she’s like; we can’t call everything 101. {laughing}

But if you want to write coconut oil 101. You can link with an affiliate link to your favorite coconut oils. Or if you use a coconut oil in a recipe post, you can link to that oil as well. And then you can earn a small commission if anybody makes a purchase through that. It’s really in line with your business, and you’re able to help monetize some of your work. If that makes any sense. Things you’re referring elsewhere.

Amazon is one worth looking into. And then there’s a bunch of other ones out there. If you recommend collagen peptides; Vital Proteins has an affiliate program. If you want to get into lifestyle coaching; the whole picture. Safer cleaning products, safer skincare products, there are affiliate programs across the board there. Branch Basics has an affiliate program, for example. One of my favorite safer cleaning companies. There is Beautycounter, which is of course a safer skincare company that I love to work with. They have a really wonderful affiliate; well, it’s a consultant. You would become a consultant for them. But you can treat it like an affiliate program.

So all of those kinds of options are out there, as well, as a way to help monetize outside of just one on one consulting with people.

Emily: OK. That’s wonderful.

Cassy Joy: Awesome, Emily. And then the last thing I want to leave you with is an idea for; this is all kinds of unsolicited advice. But I can’t help myself.

Emily: {laughs} It is very welcomed.

Cassy Joy: Oh good. This is what happens; if someone catches me and asks me a tiny question at the mailbox; my neighbors are like, oh my gosh. I did not ask for all of this. {laughing}

Emily: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I think that it’s a really good idea to offer some sort of a free course, eBook, or miniseries for folks who sign up for your email list.

Emily: Ok. That’s a very good idea.

Cassy Joy: So if your best ideas go on the blog; the ones where you’re like, “I’ve got it! This is what I want people to understand about cholesterol.” If your best ideas go on the blog for Google searches, then some of your best services go into an email opt-in. And you give that away for free.

So what you would do; and it can be really short and sweet. But you can say; gosh, let me think of an email opt-in. You could do your 10 ways to use meal prep chicken eBook, right. And turn that into; all you do is create it. you can team up with a graphic designer. They’re very affordable if you just find one off the cuff. I’m sure you’ve got a friend in your circle who might be able to put something together for you. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, but that was the first money I would spend as a blogger, is on some sort of a design help.

Put together a PDF. And it would just be a simple download. Mailchimp makes it very easy for you to add in an opt-in. And essentially what it does is on the confirmation page, you can put a link to download that PDF. You would say, “Sign up for my email list and I’ll send you this free eBook.” Or you can do a mini-course. Like the five steps to understanding your carb cravings. Something along those lines. I’m making these things up. And they’re all kind of semi-good ideas, too. {laughing}

Emily: They’re really good!

Cassy Joy: Too many ideas. There are not enough hours in the day. But I would put something like that together to help build your email list, as well. And that also establishes furthermore as somebody who is out there and contributing. Trying to provide content, and trying to provide solutions to folks. So that would be my last piece of advice. And you can absolutely start that now. You do not have to be a nutrition consultant already to put out an “Understanding carb cravings” kind of eBook. If you want to work with folks, and mentor them one on one, of course, finish your program. But that would be a thing to do.

So build your email list, and then that becomes the folks that you send a note out. And you’re like, “Hey guys. There’s a brand new blog post up. Go check it out. It’s on coconut oil 101. And by the way, I finally launched my nutrition consulting practice. And I’m looking to take three clients right now, first come, first served.” That’s how you really start transitioning.

And then keep doing that for a while, and again you’re going to feel like you’re working two full time jobs. But do that at a moderate pace. Maybe you’re still only posting once a week. You’re emailing people twice a month, once a month. And you’re working with three nutrition clients at a time. But keep doing that until you feel like you’ve really got your legs under you. And your business is sustainable. You’ve got some affiliate income coming in through all of those affiliate programs that I mentioned. And it feels substantial enough to where you can leave your old job. And that’s how to do it.

And it’s going to hurt for a little while. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of late nights and weekends. Especially with a kiddo on the ground. It is absolutely doable. And I think the sooner you start putting yourself out there on a schedule to create content and share it on a regular basis, the sooner it will happen.

Emily: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much! I don’t think I would have ever came up with all of that on my own.

Cassy Joy: Oh, good! I love being helpful. {laughs} I’m so glad that was helpful. Please don’t be a stranger. I want to cheer you on and see how all this goes for you.

Emily: Thank you so much.

Cassy Joy: Thank you so much, Emily. Everybody else, if you’re listening. As always you can catch a full download transcript of today’s show over on www.FedandFit.com. As always, we’ll be back again next week.

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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  1. Thanks again for having me, answering my questions, and sharing so much wonderful information and advice!